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US-backed forces fortify oil fields in Deir Ezzor

Local | 2018-03-12 08:08:00
US-backed forces fortify oil fields in Deir Ezzor
(Zaman Al Wasl)- US-backed Kurdish militias have fortified oil fields under its control in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor province, as regime forces deploy troops near Coneco oil field, sources told Zaman al-Wasl Monday.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces sent fighters to al-Omar gas field amid concerns of imminent clashes with regime forces.

In its turn, the regime army has deployed troops near the town of Khasham in the eastern bank of Euphrates River, according to local activists.

With Islamic State defeat in Syria, the Assad regime has set its sights on territory held by Kurdish-led forces including eastern oil fields, risking a new confrontation that could draw the United States in more deeply and complicate Russian diplomacy.

Rivalry between the SDF and the Syrian regime backed by Iran and Russia is emerging as a fault line with their common enemy - Islamic State - close to collapse in Syria.

In October 2017, Damascus declared Islamic State’s former capital at Raqqa would be considered “occupied” until the Syrian army took control - a challenge to Washington which helped the SDF capture the city in months of fighting.

And the eastern oil fields seized by the SDF in October, including Syria’s largest, will be a target for the regime as it tries to recover resources needed for reconstructing areas it controls, according to a Syrian official and a non-Syrian commander told Reuters.

The Syrian official told Reuters last October that the SDF could not keep control of oil resources. “We won’t permit it,” said the official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity as he was giving a personal view.

The United States has not spelt out how military support for the SDF will evolve after Islamic State’s defeat, a sensitive point due to the concerns of its NATO ally Turkey.

The U.S.-led coalition, which has established several military bases in northern Syria, has been helping the SDF shore up control of the recently captured al-Omar oil field in Deir al-Zor province.


Zaman Al Wasl
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